Police Target Hoosiers Who Text While Driving

Officials: Distracted Drivers Causes Thousands Of Crashes Per Year

Police are keeping an eye out for Hoosiers who disobey the law by texting and driving.

Safety experts said that distracted driving causes thousands of deadly crashes each year.

Indiana is one of 35 states that have banned the practice, but according to new figures released on Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving jumped 50 percent last year, and the problem is worse among young drivers.

According to the report, 20 percent of drivers admit to sending messages while behind the wheel. The report also found that most drivers will answer a cellphone while driving.

Driver Greg Dilling admitted that he falls into that category, RTV6’s Chris Proffitt reported.

"I've been guilty of it myself. Depending on what you've got going on, it's the time of day and you've only got so much time, and you respond. That's part of the problem today. We're too accessible,” Dilling said.

“Usually (drivers) are doing something they're not supposed to be doing. That's how I see that they're texting because they're swerving, going fast or too slow,” said driver Patricia Price.

According to government figures, nearly 3,100 people died in 2010 in crashes caused by driving distractions. Safety experts said distracted driving is the equivalent of driving while intoxicated.

In the first two months of Indiana's new law, state troopers issued only 25 tickets and 24 warnings for texting while driving. But advocates of the law said that tickets alone won't work.

"The most important part is self-enforcement. Insurance folks tell me we'll get about 60 percent compliance when we pass a law that says you can't do this while driving," Sen. Travis Holdman said.

The Highway Safety Association said that education on the dangers of texting while driving isn’t enough to deter people and that law enforcement is needed.

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